Tennessee: Refugee Absorptive Capacity Act could be the ticket for other areas experiencing refugee overload

A model for other states?

Just a week ago we told you about the mayor of Manchester, NH begging for a moratorium on refugees being resettled in his city.   The Tennessee bill, just passed and signed into law and discussed in some detail in the Shelbyville Times Gazette, may be just the model other states could use to demand some control of the refugee program at the local level.

Frankly in many locations, citizens are incensed when they learn that “church” groups like Catholic Charities are being paid by the US State Department and the Dept. of Health and Human Services to financially stress towns and cities by the importation of poverty.

From the Shelbyville Times Gazette (emphasis mine):

A bill that originated from the desk of State Sen. Jim Tracy has been signed into law that would make sure that local communities would be able to absorb refugees.

But a state immigrant rights group has blasted the new measure, calling it an “unprecedented attack on refugees.”

Called the Refugee Absorptive Capacity Act, the new law, signed by Gov. Bill Haslam on May 27, will require Catholic Charities, the state’s refugee program agency, to meet four times a year with local governments to plan and coordinate “the appropriate placement of refugees in advance of the refugees’ arrival …”

A number of refugees from a variety of countries, such as Somali, Burma and Egypt, have moved to Shelbyville in recent years to be closer to jobs at the Tyson Foods facility.

Tracy told the T-G in February that there has been “a lot of discussion across the state about this, particularly in Bedford County … but other counties also.” He explained at the time that the law would require resettlement agencies to let local governments know when a large number of refugees are coming “because it puts a burden on the local community.”

“Absorptive capacity” refers to a community’s ability to meet the existing needs of its current residents, the availability of affordable or low-cost housing, including existing waiting lists, and “the capacity of the local school district to meet the needs of the existing or anticipated refugee student population.”

The law also refers to “the ability of the local economy to absorb new workers without causing competition with local residents for job opportunities, displacing existing local workers, or adversely affecting the wages or working conditions of the local workforce.”

It also states that a local government can request a moratorium on new resettlement activities, by documenting that the community lacks the absorptive capacity and that further resettlement would result in an adverse impact to existing residents.

The bill passed the state house by a vote of 86-10 with passage in the Senate side by a vote of 22-9-1.

Of course the state Open Borders advocacy and lobbying group—the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition* (search RRW for them, we have written about them on many occasions)–calls the measure the “Refugees not welcome act.”

*For our Maryland readers this is the Tennessee equivalent to CASA de Maryland, except they are not as rich as CASA.

Webinar: Refugees no longer screened for HIV before arriving in the US

This is not new news, but….

I just came across this webinar series and one of the series, just a few weeks ago, was about how refugees are no longer screened for HIV before they are admitted to the US.  I see that a month ago they did one on suicide among refugees.  Maybe next they need to do a webinar on how refugees are coming in with active TB, something we just heard from an unidentified reader at another website. Hat tip: Paul

You can hear the webinar here:

Since January 4, 2010, HIV is no longer an inadmissible condition for refugees seeking resettlement in the US. Refugees are not required to undergo HIV testing as part of the overseas medical examination and HIV-positive individuals do not need an approved Class A Waiver for admission. Resettlement agencies, state and local health officials have raised questions on how best proceed in screening refugees and linking HIV-positive individuals with services. They have also asked for guidance in providing information, testing and treatment for refugees that is consistent with state and federal health privacy laws and best practices.

Bowling Green City Commission to vote on holding terror trial in their town

According to this little news story, the Bowling Green City Commission plans to vote today on whether to ask the US Justice Department to move the trial of two Iraqi alleged terrorists from their town.

From WBKO:

A vote is scheduled for Tuesday by the Bowling Green City Commission.

The vote is on a resolution urging U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department to move the case of Waad Alwan and Mohanad Hammadi.

What, Bowling Green, KY doesn’t want to deal with an Islamic terror trial in their backyard?  Too much excitement?  Bad publicity for refugee resettlement? Safety of citizens?  I’ll see if there is more news on this today and report back.  If anyone sees the full story before I do, send it my way.

For new readers, here is the original story about the arrest of two Iraqi refugees on terrorism charges.

Just ‘marry’ a gay or lesbian and stay in the USA

One more backdoor amnesty from the Obama Administration—they were busy last week.  One day we had Janet Napolitano telling Congress that any illegal alien kid in school wouldn’t be deported, and at the same time, with the decision in this case, seems all you have to do is ‘marry’ someone gay and you are in!  Problem is that most states do not recognize gay marriage.

From Fox News:

The federal decision to stop deportation proceedings against a Venezuela-born New Jersey man who legally married his same-sex partner in the United States — effectively recognizing gay marriage — is an “abuse of executive authority” by the Obama administration, immigration experts told FoxNews.com.

Henry Velandia, a 27-year-old professional salsa dancer from Caracas now living in New Jersey, legally married U.S. citizen Josh Vandiver, 30, in Connecticut last year, but due to the Defense of Marriage Act — a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman — Vandiver was not allowed to sponsor Velandia for a green card in the same way a heterosexual person could for his or her spouse. The Department of Homeland Security nevertheless decided to drop deportation efforts against him Wednesday.

Velandia told FoxNews.com that Wednesday’s ruling was a “big, uplifting moment” and the product of a year’s worth of hard work on behalf of the couple’s attorney, Lavi Soloway.

“I can now be with Josh, my husband, in this country without fear of being torn apart,” he said on Friday. “It’s like our first day building up our life together. But we know the fight is not over. We’re going to keep fighting for marriage equality for all the couple who are in the same situation.”

CIS:  Obama Administration abusing executive authority

But Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, said the decision is misguided prosecutorial discretion that could “destroy the credibility” of immigration law in the United States.

“This is another instance of the Obama administration’s abuse of executive authority on behalf of select groups of removable aliens that it thinks are sympathetic to make a run around Congress and provide amnesty to as many illegal aliens as possible,” Vaughan said. “These people are props for the administration, which is uncomfortable in its mission to enforce immigration laws. What they’re really doing here with this policy of discretion is giving a free pass to huge numbers of people who have been living here illegally.”

By the way, this whole LGBT business is now the next big asylum excuse!  What! Do we just take peoples’ word for it that they are homosexual, or bi-sexual or transgender?

Oh, and did you see that the Pakistanis are p*****-off at the US State Department for an Embassy LGBT pride event; they called it cultural genocide by the US against Pakistan.

UN says more refugees need resettlement

So, what else is new?

I’ve been writing this blog since 2007 and I have never seen the UN say anything other than—take more, take more!

Since the US has a goal of 80,000 this year, this would indicate that the US is taking the lions share—again.

From the UN News Service:

4 July 2011 –

The United Nations refugee agency today called on countries to offer more resettlement places for the world’s most vulnerable refugees, warning that unless a deal is reached this year nearly 100,000 people will be left “in an agonizing limbo.”

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said 80,000 places for resettlement – offered to refugees who cannot return to their home countries or settle in the countries where they first claimed asylum – are currently available each year.

But as many as 780,000 refugees are estimated to be likely to need resettlement in the next five years, the agency warned in a press release issued from its headquarters in Geneva.


Last year UNHCR presented more than 108,000 refugees for resettlement, and about 73,000 were eventually resettled with the assistance of the agency, with the most going to the United States.

Obama’s war in Libya isn’t helping the situation either.